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The Exchange in North Shields appoints new MD

North Shields based theatre, café and cultural business centre, The Exchange, has appointed a new managing director with a strong commercial and arts background to manage and develop the venue.

Stuart Egan, aged 43, will be responsible for establishing The Exchange as a key cultural facility and a place where businesses thrive. As a central element of North Tyneside’s new Cultural Quarter, Stuart will ensure The Exchange helps to bring people into the area, generating meaningful economic and social benefits for North Shields and beyond.

Born and bred in Wallsend, Stuart joins The Exchange from Handelsbanken, where he was private account manager and mortgage adviser for seven years. Prior to Handelbanken, Stuart worked for Barclays Bank in its corporate banking division supporting local businesses and large PLCs with their growth plans.

Stuart calls this his dream job having been heavily involved in theatre and the arts since joining the Tynemouth Priory Youth Theatre at the age of 14.

As well as performing, Stuart has worked behind the scenes at Whitley Bay Playhouse for many years handling the technical aspects of putting shows on the stage in his spare time. Stuart’s passion for the arts follows a long family tradition – his grandparents were performers and both his parents directed and performed in a wide variety of theatre shows. His mother, Marsha Egan / McKinley, became quite famous within the arts community locally before she sadly died in 2006.

Stuart said: “This is absolutely my dream job. It combines my commercial expertise with my love of the arts. What could be better!

“Although I was aware of The Exchange as a beautiful local building, I really didn’t know what it was used for – despite my connections within the local arts scene. I want this to change. Everyone needs to know about this iconic local landmark and want to come and visit.

“When I saw Paul Stonebanks’ vision for the venue, I was immediately sold. The chance to bring this stunning, much-loved building back to its former glory and transform it into place for the entire local community really appealed. Paul and I have worked closely together for the past six years building his businesses. He shares the same community-driven values as me and I know he always follows through on his promises. This confidence in Paul, and my shared belief in his vision for The Exchange 1856, is what convinced me to leave a career in banking to follow my heart. I can’t wait to get stuck in and help put The Exchange on the local, national and international cultural stage.”

Welcoming Stuart into his new role, Paul Stonebanks OBE, said: “There really isn’t a better person for this job than Stuart. His financial and business acumen are second to none and his passion for the arts brings an unrivalled understanding of what our cultural offer needs to be. The Exchange is currently undergoing extensive internal refurbishment and when ready, under Stuart’s expert guidance, we will provide the perfect space for everything from theatre performances to community events and business seminars to meet the needs of the local community.”


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